Acting & English BA (Hons)

Our Acting & English course has a 100% student satisfaction rate.
National Student Survey, 2023


Develop your acting skills to a professional standard, while exploring English literature, and gain a deep understanding of the relationship between text and performance.

We offer the only combined actor-training and English degree in the UK, allowing you to develop your acting skills while studying English literature, giving you a firm knowledge base from which to work in either field.

Acting is the practical realisation of text and is closely linked to the discipline of English. This unique combination of study will open up many options for work or further academic study. You’ll have a range of options, which will allow you to tailor the course to fit your particular interests, and have the chance to develop allied skills such as theatre directing.

Acting classes cover acting for both stage and screen, and will include substantial workshop performances as well as public productions in the final year, including the opportunity to present your own fully supported show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

When you leave the course you’ll be armed with a career action plan, a show reel and significant experience in both acting and English.

We're a top UK modern university for English (1st of 53) and we're a top 2 UK modern university for Drama, Dance & Cinematics (2nd of 63) - The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.

Students performing in 'Trojan Barbie' with 4 people with shawls over their head huddled round one person in the middle with an open mouth

Mode of Study:



4 years

Start date:


UCAS code:


BAFTA Scotland award winners

Edinburgh Napier's Acting and Film alumni were amongst the winners of the 2021 BAFTA Scotland Awards.

Course details

This course is aimed at those with an interest in both practical acting and English literature. You’ll enhance your performing skills to industry-standard, while simultaneously studying English literature in its cultural-historical context. The course is split evenly between the study of English literature and the study of acting.

English is studied from the early 19th century to the present day providing a modern, interdisciplinary approach to literature. You’ll develop an appreciation of different genres and explore the value of literature in the modern world. Practical acting projects will often work alongside the English texts you are studying. You will read, analyse and perform texts of a similar era at the same time, thereby deepening your understanding of both literature and acting. 

Our programme is not a drama/theatre studies course – we aim to train actors to vocational standard over four years.  Along with intensive classes and workshops in acting, you will study alongside the BA (Hons) English degree students in a variety of classes that cover subjects from Shakespeare to Romantic poetry to modern drama.

You’ll study:
  • Acting: The ability to develop, play and sustain a character in performance
  • Voice: Enhancing your vocal range and potential
  • Movement:Enhancing your physical capabilities.
You’ll also get vocational and industry-relevant training through intensive workshops, centred on acting for stage and screen and on the craft, practice and business of performance.

Throughout the course there will be a particular focus on enhancing confidence and communication, and deepening the ability to be cogent and articulate about a variety of critical approaches and the process of performance. You’ll benefit from studying in a vibrant city with a great literary heritage and plenty of relevant cultural events.

You’ll prepare for work in live and recorded performances. The course culminates with the opportunity either to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival or to produce a thesis in a chosen subject area, depending on where you decide to concentrate study in your final year.

This unique combination of skills and knowledge will equip you with a wide range of options for work or further academic study.

Additional mandatory costs

Recommended for the start of the course: 

  • ‘Mastering the Shakespeare Audition: A Quick Guide to Performance Success’ by Donna Soto-Morettini (£17)
  • 32GB USB pen drive which (around £15)
  • Women: A rehearsal skirt (£10-£20) and character shoes (£10-£25)
  • Men: dark rehearsal suit jacket (second hand is fine- £10-£30) and dark-coloured hard-soles shoes (£10-£30)

Year 4, trimester 2: you will need to get a professional head shot (ranging from £50-£150 depending on the photographer)


  • calendar

    How you’ll be taught

    Your learning experience will consist primarily of practical, workshop-based classes, tutorials, and seminars with visiting professionals.

  • note and pen


    The majority of your assessments will be practical and performance-based, all of which will be underpinned by research and analytical course work.

Popular modules

Year 1

  • Critical Contexts: Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory
  • Reading Texts: Analysing Film, Literature and Culture
  • Acting Fundamentals I
  • Acting Fundamentals II (Naturalism)
  • Interpreting Text
  • 19th Century Literature and Culture 1 or Literature & Adaptation

Year 2

  • Modern Drama: Shakespeare and the Renaissance
  • Fundamentals of Directing
  • The Modern Novel
  • Intermediate Acting (20th Century Drama)
  • Shakespeare Workshop Performance

Year 3

  • C21 Literature: Writing the Unfolding Present
  • Advanced Acting (Style)
  • Directing II
  • Leadership in the Creative Industries

One option module from:

  • Women's Writing & Film-making
  • Unacknowledged Legislators: Poets in History and Society
  • Science fiction: text and film

Year 4

  • Dissertation
  • Performance Workshop II
  • Festival Production
One option module from:

  • Postcolonial Fiction and Film
  • Modern Scottish Fiction;
  • Lateness and the Modern
  • The Gothic Tradition
  • Performance Skills for Professional Practice
  • Memoir, Documentary and the Essay Film
  • Fictions of Terror


Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

What are the entry requirements for Acting and English?

As part of the selection process suitably qualified applicants will normally be invited to attend an audition and interview. This applies to all years of entry. 

Our entry requirements indicate both Standard and Minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

Audition and application

Your audition plays a big part in the selection process, but we are looking for a demonstrated interest within acting, whether it be in subjects at school or clubs, societies etc. We're looking for passion, self-motivation, strong imagination and a willingness to be open to new ideas. If you show potential in the audition, and can meet the academic criteria, then we will be able to offer a place on our course.

The audition will be in three parts:

  • a classical speech (Shakespeare) - we will send you a selection to pick from
  • a two-minute devised piece, which might reflect something about yourself
  • a song to be sung a cappella (pick your best 16 bars of music).

For each part of the audition, we're looking for an imaginative connection to the world of the piece you've chosen. Our advice is to come prepared: understand and learn all your material, inside and out. Otherwise, nerves will prevent you from performing to the best of your ability.

You can find out more information about video audition requirements here.

Can you go straight into second year of university?

Advanced entry into Year 2 of this course is possible for students with suitable qualifications. See the individual year tabs for more information.

Can I make an appointment with an advisor to discuss further about the admission process?

If you want to get more information on the admission process, please get in touch with the undergraduate admissions team by submitting an enquiry form above.


Minimum Year 1

SQA Higher

  • Standard Entry Requirement: BBCC including Grade B in English.
  • Minimum Offer Entry Requirement: BCCC including Grade C in English.

You may be given an adjusted offer of entry if you meet our specified minimum entry requirements within our widening participation criteria, and outlined in our Contextual Admissions Policy. Click here for further information about our entry requirements and admissions policies.

A Level

  • CCD including Grade C in English.

Irish Leaving Certificate

  • H3, H3, H3, H3 at HL including English.


  • Pass HNC Acting and Performance or another performance based subject with grade B in the graded unit. Grade B in Higher English is also required.

BTEC (QCF) Extended Diploma Level 3

  • Minimum grades MMM (Merit, Merit, Merit) in a related subject. Grade B in Higher English also required.

International Baccalaureate Diploma

  • Award of Diploma with 26 points overall with three HL subjects at grades 5, 5, 5 including English.

T Level

  • Grade Pass
  • T Level must be completed in a English/Literary subject or A Level English may be required. Please contact to check if you meet the subject specific requirements.

Minimum Year 2

SQA Advanced Higher

  • BBC including Grade B in English.

A Level

  • BBB including English.


  • Pass HND Acting and Performance or HND Technical Theatre and Production Arts with grade B at SCQF Level 8 in all graded units. Grade B in Higher English is also required.

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test. The English Language requirements for this programme are IELTS (Academic) with 6.0 overall and no element below 5.5.  For guidance on the acceptability of other English Language tests please contact

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English. Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students from 2023/24 2024/25
Scotland £1,820 £1,820
England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £9,250 £9,250
Overseas and EU £15,160 £16,680
Students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland will be invoiced the tuition fees for 3 years of their 4 years of study. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.
Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next. For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships
If additional compulsory costs other than the tuition fees are applicable, these will be detailed in the course details.
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.


Two student actors play a scene

Career opportunities include:

  • Actor
  • Journalist
  • Theatre Director
  • Creative Producer
  • Production Manager
  • Presenter
  • Teacher
  • Arts Administrator
  • Lecturer
  • Theatre Stage Manager
  • Artistic Director
  • Playwright
  • Artistic Programmer
  • Box Office Manager
  • Project Director
  • Participation Director
  • Communications Manager
Student actor wrapped in a USA flag